Books for All came into being quite by chance but the thought behind it had been churning for a long time! As Pravin Bhasin neared his retirement, the urge to do something for the society became even stronger. This thought process coincided with election time in 2009, when he went to collect his voter ID Card from a Government Primary School located in an urban ‘Gejha’ village in Sector 93 NOIDA. He got talking to the teacher in-charge and she requested him to donate dhurries for students to sit on during the winter months. The urge to do something concrete for the children at the Gejha school lingered on with him even after the dhurries had been given. As luck would have it, he was fortunate to connect with like-minded people.

BFA was born of the idea to collect children’s books from more affluent neighbourhoods and make them available at a library center at the Gejha Government school which could be accessed by the children of the school. With the objective in place, once the initial team of volunteers came forth, one room at the Gejha school was converted into a basic library equipped with white board, soft board, chairs, durries and books. The intent was to create a space, to which the children would be attracted to come and browse and read story books.

Initially the library was run with the funds put together by the volunteers themselves. After a year of managing the library with the volunteers’ own funds, Books for All (BFA) was registered as a Public Charitable Trust on 10th February 2011. Since then we have expanded our area of work which has been benefitting not only children but youth as well. Below are the various programmes that we run:

Library cum Creativity Centres

Our first Library cum Creativity Centre in Government Primary School, Gejha, was a Sustainable,  Replicable & Scalable model. Soon it became the model for future Libraries. Today BFA has 6 Library cum Creativity Centers and caters to over 2000 students. Our Library cum Creativity Centres are in the following 6 schools in urban villages of NCR:

  1. Government Primary School, Village Gejha, Noida
  2. Sarvodaya Vidya Mandir, Village Sadarpur, Noida
  3. Government Primary & Junior School, Village Sultanpur, Noida
  4. Government Primary School, Bhangel, Dadri Road, Noida
  5. Green Valley Modern School (GVMS), village Sultanpur, Noida
  6. National Education Mission Public School (NEMP), Village Gejha, Noida

These schools cater to poor children, most of them first generation learners. Their parents are mostly migrants from from Eastern UP, Bengal, Orissa & Bihar. They are daily wage earners or own petty stalls selling Tea or Vegetables etc or have jobs paying meagre wages.

Sponsorship Programme

During the library period BFA librarians and volunteers come across students who are eager to obtain better education. To fulfil their dream we started Sponsorship Programme in 2014. Under this programme we mentored bright deserving students and helped them get admission in better schools. Not only that we even handhold them throughout their years of schooling. Till date BFA has sponsored the education of 24 students to an English medium and a good Hindi medium school. We also coach and mentor them so that they develop them into well rounded individuals.

Career Counselling and Vocational Training Programme

Having realised the need for students to have vocational skills, BFA, in its pilot project in 2019-20, had sponsored the training of 9 students from Hindi Medium Schools, in Paramedical and Dress Design Courses. Our initiative got shot in the arm when we were selected by HCL Foundation for Career Counselling and Vocational Training Project in their Skills and Livelihoods program in 2020. Under this programme BFA counsels students of Inter-colleges in Noida about careers and vocational courses that will provide them with skills and can make them employable. BFA helps students with admissions to selected institutes and mentors them till they complete the course and find employment. BFA trainers also impart soft skills to increase their confidence, communication skills and awareness of the world around them. Till date we have provided career counselling to 2792 students and vocational training to 146 youth in 28 different courses from 11 reputed institutes across Delhi & NCR.

‘Sankalp’ Adult Literacy Programme

During visits to the Libraries, it was observed that the mothers of most of the children are illiterate or  dropped out of school for one or the other reason. This prompted us to conduct a survey in the nearby areas (Gejha village specifically) to understand the gravity of the issue. To our surprise, about 120 women expressed their interest in continuing education. This motivated BFA to initiate the program for women literacy, SANKALP in November 2021. The literacy centre operates on alternate days and the classes are conducted by a qualified teacher. The programme caters to absolutely illiterate women only and currently 11 women have enrolled with us.

Hanging Libraries

In 2021, to help provide good quality books to Primary and Middle Schools, Books for All started a drive to raise funds for Hanging Libraries. The objective was to help schools, that have no dedicated room to spare, with Wall hung libraries, each of which contain 130-140 beautifully illustrated story books in English, Hindi, regional languages or bi-lingual books. With the help of our numerous supporters we were able to install 30 Hanging Libraries across 4 states of India with a vision to reach out to all the states across India.